Layered security is a trendy topic among IT professionals, but non-technical executives usually know very little about it. Simply put, layered security is all about taking a multi-faceted, strategic approach to your organization’s cybersecurity and risk management processes.
The basic concept behind layered security is that threats loom at many different levels inside and outside your network. Think of cybersecurity like it’s a 7-layer bean dip. You can only make a great bean dip when each layer is fresh, with quality ingredients that blend together perfectly. If one layer is off, the whole dip suffers. Your cybersecurity is exactly the same.
Bad bean dip is one thing, but a small or mid-size business reputation and budget is another. An incredible 70% of businesses with 100 or less employees end up with a data breach at some point in their business cycle. These average cost for these breaches is $20,000 per incident.
It’s clear that you need to carefully approach each layer of your security to protect your business, your customers, and your wallet. Here are the different levels you’ll want to protect yourself when utilizing a layered security approach:
Your very first level of defense against threats is your network, which includes all of your computers and any other devices that connect to each other. At a minimum, this means using state-of-the-art firewalls to block any data you don’t want coming into your network, or going out of your network.
If your company engages in e-commerce, you’ll want to take it a step further. This means using data encryption to protect yourself and your customers from malicious third-parties. Working alongside your firewall, you should be able to detect and prevent any harmful parties from snooping around your data.
Finally, your IT department needs to make sure that applications and systems are constantly monitored for the latest updates and major security vulnerabilities are fixed quickly; the sooner you’re patched against these threats, the less you have to worry about them. By routinely updating your equipment, you’ll ensure that you always have the highest level of protection available.
Keeping your physical systems secure is another huge layer of security that must be protected. The first thing to keep in mind is the physical security of your assets. Server rooms must remain locked at all times, along with any backup hard drives—even if your data is encrypted, it could be deciphered given enough time. One good way to solve this issue is by storing your sensitive data on a secure cloud, relieving you the responsibility of protecting physical data.
You also have to keep your computers, laptops, and mobile devices secure. This could mean setting up roaming user profiles or just assigning a laptop and a log-in to every employee. You’ll also need to equip everything with the latest anti-virus software, firewalls, and malware protection.
Human Error Security
By far, the most common vulnerability for small and mid-sizes businesses is human error. Phishing attempts are aimed at people with the clear intent to deceive them. Thus, it’s critical that your security processes aim to minimize the possibility of human error as much as possible.
The most important way to stop human error is by training your employees. If they know what’s expected of them, and how to recognize potential security breaches, you’ll be able to reduce a dramatic amount of threats right off the bat.
Beyond training, there are several other pieces you can implement to protect your business:
- A spam filter that’s able to read a high volume of email and block out things like Trojans, malware, and phishing attempts is a definite must. Your filter must also be efficient enough that it doesn’t accidentally block important emails, making finding the perfect one a tricky balancing act.
- Whitelisting is a tactic that stops your employees from visiting dangerous or non-productive websites. It limits employees to only the websites necessary to complete their jobs. Today’s whitelisting programs are powerful enough to work in the background, learning which programs and websites are necessary and which can be blocked.
- Permission-based access is another way to ensure the security of your data. You can set certain documents or programs to only be accessible to employees you wish to share with. You can even create spreadsheets that can be viewed by anybody but only edited by a select few. Essentially, you’re ensuring that information and editing power only goes into the hands of the people who absolutely need it.
If you’re ready to start taking your cybersecurity and risk management seriously, make sure to reach out to our business experts here at Envision Consulting. We provide everything you need to keep your business secure, including content filtering, web traffic protection, automated patch management, and much more.